Returning home - Part II

Apr 05, 2008 in

Part I: Travelling after my pants
Part II: In deep shit
Part III: 100 hours

In deep shit

27.03 07:00 — 26 hours to go
The virus didn’t want to wait. The train is very full (as expected) but despite that and two babies in the vicinity that cried all night and shit into their pants, I got a few hours of sleep [after all, it’s supposed to be a night train]. The train is two hours late so far. While I don’t think it will arrive much later than that, I still tremble whether there will be a traffic jam on the way to Chandigarh. I need to reach the FRO before they close, otherwise I can’t get that exit permit!

27.03 13:00 — 5 hours till the FRO closes — 216 km to Chandigarh!
I am on the bus to Chandigarh. The train wasn’t 2 hours late after all… but fucking 6 hours!!! At one stop, it stopped for more than half an hour, letting past 2 other trains to New Delhi, driving me insane! When the train, short before reaching Delhi, stopped at each suburban stop (like an IC stopping at Stellingen, Elbgaustraße, Diebsteich, …) for more than 10 minutes each [letting pass suburban transportation, actually] and otherwise drove with barely 15km/h, it got personal. As if he is doing that just to mock me, to get even more ridiculous late!
I had to think fast. Otherwise I am done for, I would be stuck in India, paid nearly 400 Euros in vain. All because of fucking Indian not-working and random bureaucracy!
Of course I had no connection for my mobile during the whole train travel, leaving me disabled, not being able to alarm anyone. After the train arrived in New Delhi, I got a bus to Chandigarh in record time – went out of the main railway station into the metro, just fetched it to Kashmere Gate [bus stand], got past some touts who wanted to sell me Deluxe busses to Manali and went through a short cut directly to the departuring busses, ignoring a security control1 and got on the leaving bus. All that in 15 minutes.
If my situation wasn’t bad enough, the power of my mobile was low since I argued so long with the FRO via phone and I had no possibility to load it somehwere. So I sms’ed Sarthak, my boss, crying for help. Trying to tell him the core problem and what he could do now to save my ass:
12:38 Tobias I am in huge trouble, I need a regist. conf. from FRO Chd. today but I cant reach before it closes. After calling lots my batt. ran out. Can u call them in my name and ask them to send it via fax to ur office? They wont let me fly out of india if I dont have it – u would really save my life man! Sry its short Ill tell u d full story later
…so I can collect it from Sarthak after the FRO has been closed.

27.03 15:00 — 3 hours till the FRO closes — 151 km to Chandigarh!
Let me tell you what happened in the last two hours:
Sarthak delegated the trouble to Vikram, an AIESECer. He called me and I told him that my battery is nearly empty and briefed him very shortly. After that, we sent SMS to each other:

13:04 Vikram Tobias I spoke to the foreign registration office. They say you need to come in person for collecting exit permit and they cannot fax it. Please call me

13:08 Tobias No btty. But they even said they would! WTF. They know that I worked for Cueblocks, Cueblocks should be able to act as a proxy!

13:12 Vikram Yes they know. But they still say you need to come to collect it. When is your flight?

13:14 Tobias Tomorrow 6 AM. I think someone has to go there and kick their ass to get into their brains that it is a fucking emergency and that it was their fault in the first place! We are talking about exceptions here!

13:23 Vikram Ive called them again and their saying youll have to come and they cant fax it. Maybe youll have to get your ticket postponed

While I wrote the following message, my mobile showed “battery low”. My time was running out. All my tiredness and stress of the last days turned into pure anger. I was furious. So short before my goal stopped by some even more ridicolous random stone-hard bureaucracy?! I couldn’t believe it. I had the impression that Vikram was not really trying, only forwarding what they said to him to me. One thing I learned in India that if you want to get something done, you have to act as if you own the place and offer bakshish a lot. Vikram was definitely not acting like that. I only wasn’t sure if this kind of behaviour will have an effect on government people but one could try at least…

13:28 Tobias Not possible anymore. These assholes! I think we can only achieve sth with those dickheads if a representative (AIESEC, Cueblocks) turns up there personally to kick their ass! Tell them who you are, whats at stake, the consequences! Perhaps we can make them have open longer (for some bakshish?)

Short after I finished the message, the bus stopped. I saw that we stopped at a rest stop to have some lunch. My plan was to jump into another bus that goes to Chandigarh and leaves here earlier to get there about 15 minutes earlier. If I remembered correctly, the FRO would close at five – our bus was supposed to arrive at about five, too. I read where the other busses were heading (blessing the fact that I can read Sanskrit now) but unfortunately our bus was the only one going to Chandigarh….

Read part III: 100 hours

1 It beeped when I went through that door, but the security guard somehow hesitated, my body language was definitely telling him something like “OK if you want to search me, do it NOW, bring it on!”. Well, and his body language was telling me “Whatever. I don’t care, go…” then… so I went. That was fast.